A little bit of insight into the birth of ‘Forgotten Hymns’
Having realised that he hadn’t posted on his shiny new blog since he set it up Sibaroni diligently sat their and tried to type something meaningful and important.
But then he got sucked into browsing the epitonic.com website and this took up some time. Then some crazy damn fool had decided to remake Dallas and he had to peer into the televisual wonder and madness (just for a peak like). In fact it was a whole evening that had gone by before he had even started tippy tapping away.
So he decided to post up a briefing document from the very earliest days of conception for ‘Forgotten Hymns’ instead because he had just found it on his desktop and it was actually quite an interesting insight.
The following is that very briefing document…..
This document was originally for a producer buddy of mine The 3rd Person. The original idea was that we would work together on a grander sounding production with a cinematic soundscape sitting across the whole album, binding the tracks together. Clashing schedules made it impossible to get beyond ‘a nice thought’ and as I wrote the album the more I felt that a pared down, lo-fi sound was right for the music rather than a lusher warmer sound I originally had in mind – it’s funny how that happens sometimes and the music just takes control of it’s own destiny.
We have discussed a remix version of the album and incorporating a soundscape into that – so it may still appear but when is a much harder question…
However the following does give an interesting insight into the initial thinking behind ‘Forgotten Hymns’. Perhaps the biggest change from this early outline to the final album is the ommision of the ‘epilogue’ which would have changed the whole mood of the album.
In the end I felt that it was better to leave the ambiguity in place and give my listeners the respect to be able to draw their own conclusions.
The Forgotten Hymns of the Failed Revolution:
With regards to the album track listing is as follows, titles provisional only, (written in brackets refers to lyrics):
1. Prologue: Raised in Chains (part one)
2. Raised in Chains (part two) (written)
3. Night Ghasts (written)
4. Love will light the way (written)
5. Call to Arms (Possible)
6. The Promise (written)
7. The People will be free
8. Love letters
9. Waiting in the trenches.
11. Take me away
12. Fallen (part one) (written)
13. Fallen (part two) (written)
14: Epilogue: A world to win.
The concept of the album is to follow the story of one protagonist through a failed revolution. The protagonist (provisionally named Sergei) is not a hero, not a leader but just an ordinary farmer turned soldier. He leaves behind his wife and young son at home to go fight for their freedom but the revolution is crushed and he dies leaving his wife a widow and his son fatherless. However, the Epilogue suggests that this first rebellion was the seed of resonance that grew and ultimately led the people to find their freedom some twenty years later.
The album is basically split in four parts Oppression, Uprising, Battle, Loss.
Setting the scene and establishing the state as oppressor. Raised in Chains Part One is to be a spoken word piece (a little like the mid album intermission on 6 by Manson) Raised in Chains (part two) build on this and introduces the Sergei as a young husband and father, frustrated with life he has been born into. Night Ghasts is a punky little piece that highlights the brutality of the state police. Love will light the way is the final song in this section and is words of advice from Father to Son ‘boy you know this life aint easy/but my child you must believe me/trust your heart you’ll be OK/love will always light the way’ the song alludes to the Sergei’s father telling his son to accept their fate and to keep his head down or else life could get worse. However the final part of this song (which is essentially a second song entirely) carries the line ‘the hardest thing in this life/is knowing something wrong/when you can’t make it right’ which repeats but the last time it is sung it shifts to ‘the hardest thing in this world/is watching those you love/when they’ve given up the fight’ bringing in the revolutionary undertone the Sergei (and by inference his entire generation) are beginning to feel.
The second part of the album focusses on the start of the revolution. The Promise (as you heard from the MySpace) is about Sergei hearing about the uprising and explaining to his wife that he has to go and join the fight. The people will be free is set to be the manifesto of the revolution, a call to arms to rise up against the oppression of the state. I intend for it to be similar stylistically to the communist manifesto. I am toying with the idea of putting a re worked version of my old tune ‘Call to Arms’ at the start of this section but am not sure if I want to include old material on this (or whether it will fit in with the musical tone of the album). However the opening line of The Promise ‘just heard the news on the radio’ could give an option to bring Call to Arms into things – would really like to have the song in the background (balanced with a bit of white noise to give the feel of a transistor radio)of the opening few bars of The Promise.
The third part of the album is the battle of the revolution. Love letters does what it says on the tin and is a duet the content being letters Sergei from the front line and his wife at home. Waiting in the trenches is a bluesy lament reflecting the ambience of the front line, anticipation, excitement and fear the key themes. Battle is fairly obvious, the tale of the battle, will be tricky to capture this without it sounding naff (I.e. like a lot of Quadrophinia ‘he’s driving on a bike, he’s driving on a bike, he’s indicating left, he’s turning left… etc’) This is the least complete section at present both musically and lyrically.
The final part of the album is death of Sergei and the failure of the revolution and Sergei’s death. Take me away is Sergei’s loss of faith in the cause and his being so consumed by pain and despair that he forsakes his belief’s. ‘Take me away/because I don’t want to fight any-more’. Fallen (part one) is a conversation between Sergei and a commander in the revolutionaries’ army. Sergei is dying and he is asking his commander if the battle is won. His commander reveals that all is lost. Part two is deliberately vague and could be read as having a pseudo-religious overtone or of the dictator showing lenience. (Gaddaffi and the way he portrays himself as the father of the state was in my mind when this was written) ‘Come to me my children/Though the bombs are falling/I still here you calling/I’ll protect you’.
The epilogue is written in the voice of Sergei’s son and is a spoken word piece like the prologue. It references the bloody revolution as sowing the seeds of a more prolonged, democratic uprising which his generation leading to the freedom his generation are now in possession of. To be honest I’m still not sure on this. It kind of feels like the last chapter of Crime and Punishment which was just a happy ending tagged on for the sake of it.
Download a free sample of ‘Forgotten Hymns of the Failed Revolution’ here